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Choice and the Future of Healthcare


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Contributor(s): Zack Cooper

Released on 8 December 2009.

Deriding it as “socialism by stealth,” critics of President Obama’s plans for healthcare reform in the US have complained that the President intends to institute an American National Health Service. Meanwhile, in the UK, the NHS itself is becoming increasingly market-led with the roll-out of “NHS Choices” – a system which allows patients to choose their healthcare provider. Some see the “Choice” agenda as steering the NHS troublingly close to privatisation.

In this short film, Zachary Cooper, a research officer with LSE Health explains how neither system will or should effect a wholesale replacement of the other. Instead both have much to learn from introducing the correct type of competition, incentives, and regulations.

As published in the British Medical Journal, his recent work with Professor Julian LeGrand – formerly a senior Downing Street policy advisor and one of the architects of the Choice and Competition agenda – provides empirical evidence that patient choice has coincided with reduced waiting times and significantly improved equity in England – with discrepancies between the richest and the poorest patients all but invisible by 2007.

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